Diabetes & Your Eyes
Diabetes is a systemic disease that affects your body’s ability to create or use insulin, which regulates your blood sugar levels. When blood sugar is too high, it can damage organs, blood vessels, and nerves.
This can be particularly dangerous for your eyes. Patients with diabetes are at an increased risk for glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic eye diseases, like diabetic retinopathy.
Managing diabetes is a team effort. Undergoing annual eye exams and maintaining appropriate blood sugar/blood pressure levels is an excellent start. By keeping communication lines open with your family doctor and optometrist, you will have the best chance of maintaining robust ocular health and vision quality throughout your life.
Unusually high blood glucose levels can damage the delicate blood vessels in your eyes. Over time, these blood vessels may leak blood and fluid into the eye. If it is improperly managed, diabetic retinopathy can cause scar tissue to develop, damaging your vision. The condition can also progress to diabetic macular edema.
As these damaged blood vessels in the eye continue to leak, they deposit fluid into the retina, causing it to swell. The more the retina swells, the more damage is done to the macula. When the macula sustains damage, it impacts your ability to see fine details like text, numbers, and facial features.